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Thread: OFF TOPIC: Thinking about learning to sail. Any ideas ?

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default OFF TOPIC: Thinking about learning to sail. Any ideas ?

    I was raised on Kachemak Bay and spent most of my youth working on fishing boats, helping to build fishing boats, and goofing around with skiffs.

    Now that I am getting long in the tooth, I have been thinking about learning how to sail. I always looked down my nose at the rag-baggers, but with gas and diesel costing more and more,,, a little sail-boat no longer sounds so sissy....

    But I have no idea how to even get started learning. There is no Alaska Sail Boat area on this web site... So does anyone have any ideas to steer me in the right direction.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    I'd buy or borrow a book or two about sailing and familiarize myself with the basics and terminology, etc. Then contact an outfit like http://www.sailinginc.com/LearnToSail.htm in Seward. I don't know anything about them but I doubt they are the only business offering sailing lessons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    But I have no idea how to even get started learning. There is no Alaska Sail Boat area on this web site... So does anyone have any ideas to steer me in the right direction.
    Over 40 years ago I taught myself to sail from bookreading; same for boat building. Then I built a 14 foot sailboat, jumped in it and went, having never once been aboard any sailboat nor knowing any able captain. Once afloat the self taught booklearning didn't pan out as I had expected, and I proceeded to run into every last boat moored in the harbor; hitting some a few times. Oh yeah, and capsizing a few times.

    I don't recommend this method.

    Ten years later, when I knew that I really did not know everything, I enrolled in a sailing class and really learned a lot.

    Find a way to get taught by someone that knows.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I bought a couple of books. Oddly enough there are almost no small sailboats for sale in Alaska.
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    Member smtdvm's Avatar
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    Default Learning to sail.

    A few years back, my brother and his wife took a sailing class down in Huntington Beach. In think it was a few days to a week or so. When he was done, he was certified (ie. they trusted him enough) to rent about a fifty footer and sailed off shore, out to Catalina etc. they did fine with that and bought their own sailboat. I don't remember any horror stories, although, he no longer sails.

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    Default sail tack jibe

    The part about understanding how exactly you should set your sail according to the current wind is one of the most important; that's where you'll understand how a ship can use a wind & sail to move itself up wind.

    Booklearning can also teach the basic technique of tacking and jibing. And also the dangers of jibing and how to not capsize, or decapitate anyone with the boom while jibing during aggressive winds.

    set sail, tack, jibe

    Really those three things are the core areas that will get you and your sailboat from point A to point B. Have fun - its a blast.

    P.S. I'm not sure I've ever posted to a thread that was titled off-topic.

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    Float Pilot,

    I learned to sail by extensive reading and then by taking half a dozen lessons. The reading will give you the theory and nomenclature. The lessons will accelerate learning the practical skill.

    There used to be and maybe still is a sailing club on Big Lake. Seward has a sailing club which might offer instruction.

    Hickam AFB in Honolulu had and maybe still has a sailing club in which you could get lessons, if you’re affiliated with the armed forces or retired. I had a demonstration lesson there once twenty years ago that was a good experience. The base is now a joint facility with the Pearl Harbor Naval Base.

    There’s an ideal place in Seattle at “The Center for Wooden Boats”. It’s a working museum on the south end of Lake Union that gives lessons, and when you’ve checked out in a particular boat, you can rent that exhibit for a cruise on the lake. They have several examples of most of the types available for rent. They also have summer classes to teach kids to sail. The kids learn in little 8 foot boats.

    You could make it a summer vacation with grandkids. You could learn in the 19 foot sloop while the kids are having a great time in the summer sailing-camp. I learned there, and so did my daughter when she was about 11.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Back during the mid1970s and early 1980s while I was in the Navy I tried sail-boarding a few times in Spian, Italy and even in the Mid-East. But I almost managed to get myself run down by a super tanker in one incident and had to swim for a couple miles in another. So I gave up on the sailing idea. You would think that little sail-boats would be more popular here on Kachemak Bay. You can't toss a rock without hitting a Sea Kayak.
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    I grew up sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and local lakes. From April through November I was out on the water nearly every day. Sailed in college, sailed in graduate school, sailed until the mid-90s and I started falling overboard a lot after never having had that problem before (I figure when the universe sends you a clue, listen). I am a big proponent of book learning but I really don't think there is any substitute for in-person instruction. You can practice your knots at home, and you should, but I don't think you can really learn sail trim, or how to bring a boat around efficiently (and safely) except from a human being who knows what they're doing.

    If you can afford it, a vacation at a sailing school might be just the ticket if you don't know someone local.

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    A shipmate of mine, back when when I was in the Navy, invited me to help him and his dad to refit and sail a 45ft sailboat. We did the refit/remodel in Maryland and he taught to sail from there to Florida and back to Virgina. Great trip and lot a learnin'.
    My next sailing experience was a 40' in the Puget Sound Region, I haven't sailed anything since, in over 20 years, but I sure remember enjoying it.
    As others have said, book learn the theory and then join a club or just find like minded folk that don't mind mentoring and sharing the whisper of the water past the hull and crack of the sail in the wind!

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    Keep in mind that sail boats operate in windy conditions, power boats work in any weather. During the nastiest weather when I'm happily hunkered down in a nice calm cove/bay enjoying a quiet cup of coffee that's when you'll see the sail boats go by. Me i'll pay the fuel price, perhaps my age is finally starting to catch up with me.
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    Teach a man to fish and he'll also learn to drink, lie, and avoid the honey do list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak Bird Brain View Post
    Keep in mind that sail boats operate in windy conditions, power boats work in any weather. During the nastiest weather when I'm happily hunkered down in a nice calm cove/bay enjoying a quiet cup of coffee that's when you'll see the sail boats go by. Me i'll pay the fuel price, perhaps my age is finally starting to catch up with me.

    Blarney! My blowboat burns 1/3 gph diesel under power. A sailboat is an inherently seaworthy vessel. A sailor can make an expresso in a sea way. You can't! Any idiot can sail. I am often in Homer Harbor on a workboat. It is amazing how many locals get out and sail when the weather is good. I suggest going out with one of them a few times just to make sure you like it. Have fun!

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    Sail boat is to much work to do a few knots.
    But you can go on and on and on and on at a few knots and no fuel bill.

    The older I get, the more i like my throttle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Music Man View Post
    Wow, that's hard to argue with for a smaller cruiser. Nice find.

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    Can the "OFF TOPIC", this thread IS about a power boat...wind power...not paddled like a canoe or kayak, or oar raft!! So you have a FLOAT PLANE and you haven't had a dozen offers yet to come to you and teach you to sail, and oh, yeah, sure I'd like to fly in and fish/hunt that place, great idea!

    I got a buddy in SC that has been sailing all his life, he fishes with me in AK every year, he would surely be interested in such a deal, of course he'd need me around to remind him of all the safety stuff

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    Yeah, I had a sailor here from Gig Harbor this last summer. Heck of a nice guy... He flew with me for a week because he needed to build Alaskan Seaplane time.
    So we droned along at 65-70 mph for 8 hours a day , him doing the flying up front and me acting as tour guide from the back seat.
    He told me about his sailing & powerboat adventures. That put the idea into my head.
    I figure that one of these days I won't be able to do the flight instruction thing... so I need to start working on my next hobby.

    I would like to find a litte 20-25 ft boat with a swing keel and a spot for an outboard. Something I could trailer back up the hill to my house. I could not afford the annual sodomy from the Homer Harbor office for a slip fee.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Float Pilot,

    I would like to find a litte 20-25 ft boat with a swing keel and a spot for an outboard
    You might want to take a look at this boat on Craigslist:
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/3464807388.html

    Doug

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    Nice. Very affordable at 6500. And with the trailer you miss out on slip fees; yay.

    If I thought I could get away a bit more, I'd go buy that little cruiser myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKExplore View Post
    Float Pilot,

    You might want to take a look at this boat on Craigslist:
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/3464807388.html

    Doug
    I haven't sailed at all in Alaska and most of my keelboat sailing was done in places with big swells and not much wind (yay, Chesapeake!), but my experience with the MacGregors is that they tend to wallow quite a bit. If you're sailing somewhere with stiffer breezes that probably won't matter as much, but I thought they were kind of unpleasant. This is where it starts to get really useful to talk to someone who's sailed locally.

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